Waikato District Council was granted an extension until 18 September this year to notify its decision on the new subdivision rules that cover Waikato District (including the old Franklin Area).
I first wrote about the Draft Proposed District Plan Rules back in January 2018. Stage I of the Plan, which included the subdivision rules, was notified by Council in July that year. The original plan was obviously to finalise Stage 1 whilst dealing with the submissions from Stage 2.
However, along came Covid-19 in early 2020 and that significantly hindered the hearing process. There were over 21,000 submission points generated from the public notification of both stages. Alongside that came the realisation that both stages were intertwined to some extent, and it made real sense to work through both stages concurrently.
So, an extension to the two-year time frame was granted by the Minister for the Environment. This extension requires Council to issue their decision by 18 September this year.
The Plan, integrating both the Franklin and Waikato sections of the District, will introduce a consistent approach to development and growth for the first time since the District’s boundary changed in 2010. Finally, the whole District will have a single set of subdivision rules.
The Rules advertised by Council provide some real opportunities for those located in the ‘Old Franklin’ part of the District. However, they maintained the status quo for the ‘Old Waikato’ portion. Following the public submission and hearing process, it is anyone’s guess what final decision emerges.
One thing that can be certain is that the transferrable title system, operated in the Franklin District, will be history. Waikato District never really liked this. Now those Franklin landowners might have a new opportunity.
The General Subdivision Rule notified, proposed that a lifestyle lot of about one hectare could be cut off many older titles so long as they exceeded twenty hectares in size. This rule, if confirmed, will provide ‘ex Franklin’ owners a path to subdivide small lifestyle lots from their farm. Their Waikato neighbours have had the option to do this for many years. However, as I said earlier, the final rule is anyone’s guess and I fully expect that this will eventually refer to titles over 40 hectares in size.
The proposed rules also contain provision for limited scope boundary adjustments and relocation of existing titles within the bounds of an existing holding. In line with current environmental initiatives, Council also intends to allow subdivision of up to three new lots when a qualifying ecological feature (such as bush or wetland) is permanently protected.
If you are interested to find out what opportunities might potentially be lost or gained through this process, feel free to give us a call and discuss your situation without delay.